Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has praised the Union Budgetary announcement of a National Health Protection Scheme to cover 100 million poor families.
Patnaik felt the scheme could have been made more broad based through a universal coverage extending to all eligible poor families.
"It has been our constant demand to increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) to 1.5 times the cost of production of crops. I am happy that it looks like our demand has been accepted. However, the cost of production must take into account the actual cost incurred by the farmers on a realistic basis. I welcome the intent of the central government”, Patnaik said in his reaction to the Union Budget.
However, he was upset with the low level of allocations for schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Mid Day Meal scheme, National Health Mission and Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
"I am surprised by the reduction in allocation under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana while we have a commitment towards 'Housing for All'. There is an inadequate emphasis on providing drinking water. Irrigation will play a major role in doubling farmers' incomes. Marginal increase in allocation for irrigation is a serious concern”, the chief minister said.
On the Railway allocation, he said the state government's legitimate demand for converting the wagon manufacturing factory at Sitalapalli (in Ganjam district) to a coach manufacturing factory has been ignored. He rued that the factory where the state government had allotted 100 acres of land and the project despite being sanctioned in 2011-12, has been pushed into cold storage stating non-availability of wagons.
Commenting on the announcement for re-development of 600 Railway stations, Patnaik said nothing has happened specifically for Odisha in which 12 railway stations were chosen by the Railways.
Patnaik said the actual allocation for Odisha under Railways in 2018-19 is not known against the state's demand for Rs 65 billion. “We hope this year the allotment is made as per our demand. It is seen that this year also the actual expenditure by Railways in Odisha continues to be low and it is expected to be below 60 per cent of the budget outlay for the entire year similar to the trends in the recent past, which is quite worrisome”, he said.